areas of reading and writing of non fiction

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In the setting I work in form tutors and subject teachers create target levels for each curriculum subject. These target levels are up dated every six weeks and each student is monitored on their performance and assessed regularly. This helps the teaching and support staff to track each student's weaknesses and strengths in subject areas and to see whether they require more support in literacy and numeracy activities.

Non-fiction text can come in many styles of reading and usually associated with events in everyday life. It requires researching, organisation skills, and presentations skills from students. To research information from a non-fiction book within the library a limited knowledge of library skills are needed from the students. This is the category (subject index) of the book needed, and how to find an author and title by the alphabetical order where the books are located. Library skills are generally taught during primary school, in secondary school librarians are usually on duty throughout the day and they have a big impact on the student's education. In the setting I work in the school librarian is a full time member of the support team, and offers various clubs during lunchtime and after school to help students find the information they require.

Non-fiction reading and writing:

For a child to understand the difference between non-fiction and fiction text is for them to start off exploring topics, this may be related to different subjects or even hobbies. Usually projects and tasks are set by the teacher when researching a specify topic, i.e. as part of the subject framework. Some teachers use a KWL chart which is used in primary schools, for the students to indentify small words and key terms and answer questions like what do you know about this subject? What did you learn? Or even personally opinions and thoughts of the topic. This helps the students to develop their knowledge and build on their vocabulary.

I personally think students which struggle to read, find non-fiction text easier to understand than fiction. From my experience, observing lessons during the GCSE exams, the majority of SEN students I supported in English achieved better marks in the non-fiction paper than the fiction paper in their mock exams within the classroom. Teachers and support staff in my setting, tried to get the students in a habit of selecting the text and persuading their answers further into more detail using quotes and key words in their writing. This is usually done from year eight onwards, as a college we try and encouraged the students to select and highlight and key words in the passages needed to develop their answers. Highlighter pens is one tool I successfully find useful in schools, I am visual learner and I need to highlight information and see it bright and bold for me to remember when coming to revision. I do try and persuade the students I support to use highlighters and underlining especially with non-fiction text in their work. This way the teacher can observe the markings the student makes and comments by a nearby word the after the lesson, to find out what strategies help with different learners within the group.

With non-fiction reading in all subjects across the curriculum a similar technique is used on how students find there information. The students firstly decide on what information is needed and organise on how they want to present their work, and concentrating on one topic at a time. Many portfolios I have seen from different year groups use illustrations, graphs and charts in their work; this may be showing primary research of data they may have collected, instead of relying on secondary sources. I help students decide on the important information is required to use in there topic, help them select appropriate resources i.e. use of books such as the Encyclopaedia and the internet and support the students by organising their findings and presentation layout. In the Design Technology department, Food Science is one subject of where various information needs to be researched on by collecting recipes from different caters and food used and then creating a individual recipe with information from their research, to the theme of choice is part of the GCSE module. Most of the students choose similar themes to their peers and the teacher doesn't mind communication and ideas shared within the classroom, as long as all work is individually created. We encourage students to use websites like, firstly because the students do not need to register with Asda to access the site, but also read the metric units of packing of items and prices and recipes.

Reading non-fiction text and ICT

Today in many schools there will be at least one computer per classroom; however some schools may have one laptop per student in all departments. As teachers, ICT can bring huge benefits to the class.  From an educational aspect, the use of computers brings enthusiasm to lessons, putting pupils more in be in charge of their learning, leading to more independent progress and development towards their work.  If used effectively, ICT can be an incredible tool for every single subject. Students when using of ICT interactivity in the classroom makes them feel in control, not just as classroom management, but in terms of independent learning and responsibility.  They can see the results of their actions immediately in front of them, leading to learning many new skills and qualities at the same time.

As well as computers, having an interactive whiteboard in the classroom has many advantages; teachers in the school have been extending the use of ICT in their classrooms over the last three years with the introduction of an interactive whiteboard in each classroom. There are many positive effects that interactive whiteboards have on students learning such as, motivation by the student, the ability to include a variety of learning styles and the ability to improve student safeguarding and review processes in their studies more rapidly. In addition to student learning, and observations also indicate that designing lessons around interactive whiteboards can help teachers have more faculties to access and be more efficient in their ICT knowledge as well as subject areas.

The main ICT application is the Internet. The Internet offers a range of faculties for every subject; there are many links available for units of work and a great tool in teaching literacy. For example reading non-fiction text includes biographies, newspaper reports, and multi-modal texts. One specify website which access's non-fiction text is Wikipedia, which is one of the fastest way of researching and collecting information from an Encyclopaedia. Students can access Wikipedia in schools and some teachers do encourage students to use the website. However I personally think exploring non-fiction information out of books example from the library is a better resource than using the Internet. The website has become easy for students to gather non-fiction information together and not all information which is viewed is true. Students tend not to read what they cut and paste, which can lead to confusion, especially with use of words they do not know the meaning to. This can be annoying for teachers especially when no sort of researching skills have been used, and lesson time can be wasted.

Home learning

Reading non-fiction text within the home environment can be various styles; example a daily piece of text would be a newspaper. Reading newspapers can improve a student's reading skills and worldwide knowledge, each student would have an individually newspaper which suits there learning style of reading. In one Citizenship lesson I observed the teacher asked the class the question of 'What newspaper do you read?' Majority of the class answered 'The Metro' because it is a time pass on the journey to school also because it is free of cost to the public. Which is great as not just students but also adults do read The Metro daily on the way to work via train, bus etc. Another newspaper was The Leicester Mercury. Many families have The Leicester Mercury delivered to their home every day and students browse through to look at certain articles their interest lays. There have been stereotypical views in the past, on how students should not read certain newspapers like 'The Sun' and should read more intellectual papers like 'The Times' and 'The Guardian' this is because the writing style of language is totally different. As every student is different each newspaper would support different people on the capability of their level of reading. Many colleges do publish their own school newspaper, which most student take acknowledge to. As well as newspapers many students do read magazines, and autobiographies at home, which teachers do encourage, also entering website such as the BBC, Sky News and CNN to get up to date information of worldwide events. However I personally think any reading material is fine for a student to improve their reading in the home environment even if it is individually or with parents and careers for a short amount of time. This inspires students to take on responsibility and maturity of knowing what the 'real world is like' from news documents, which has a huge effect within the classroom, especially linked with students with behaviour issues.

Classroom organisation

Reading non-fiction text is overlooked throughout the National Curriculum, looking at a textbook daily in a lesson is just the starting point. Textbooks are used in every subject across the curriculum and are regularly updated. Students develop into independent learning when using textbook in a staff absents and teachers do rely on textbooks during lessons and find them to act as a guide of the framework in the curriculum. Students are helped to answers and understand the comprehension task set, and learn new key words and terms from the glossary. Most of the secondary level textbooks I have seen have a similar layout in each subject, which leads to less confusion for students. Many teachers in the classroom try to encourage students to read out aloud maybe at least a paragraph to help improve reading skills, in non-fiction text. I think this is a brilliant technique to use in the classroom as it improves reading skills but also boosts a student's self-esteem to read out a loud

Selecting certain elements of the text needed when researching students start to develop from year seven onwards, and start to increase the level of ability by going on to note taking during lessons. Being able to select significant text is an important skill to achieve fully from, especially towards university in lectures. Note taking in the classroom at a Key Stage Three level I think should be done more in certain lessons instead of copying of the board. Majority of the students I have observed in the classroom, when reading students trace the words with their finger of use a bookmark or ruler as a guideline. This is a good skill to use especially with troubled readers, as it leads to less confusion and losing point on the page.

When i listen to a student read in the classroom I try and see if the student can self-correct mistakes before helping and telling the word. I have also been trained upon the Ruth Miskins Learning programs on how phonics are taught and used with reading. When I conducted the task from the non-fiction reading and writing session, the students were looking at other curriculum subjects were non-fiction text was used. The students were exploring in the topic of freedom fighter and successfully completed and presented a project when information and researching skills were involved. Majority of the students used their lesson time as well as for homework to look textbooks and use of the internet to find and gather there information required. When reading the text they selected one or two of the students struggled with certain words and asked me or teacher the meaning of some words, which was good as this helped them to understand the remaining of text instead of leading into confusion.

Subject teachers encourage students to find a purpose, genre, and audience of the text they analyse. This is usually done towards Key Stage Four, however many teachers prefer to start the students earlier so when entering GCSE level they would be use to answering questions in more depth, and in essay style wording. The student would then lead their answers into the language, tone, style and information needed. One part of the GCSE exam is to read a non-fiction text and complete a comprehension of a range of questions. Students are helped to develop these skills by many completing many practices papers over the two year course of their GCSE. This might be done independently, as a class or in small groups. Teachers try and get the class to complete one practice paper every three weeks, and hopefully there becomes an increase in the student's marks. Teachers do push students to complete the practice papers as homework too, as well as completing all coursework.

A personal experience for me was I never passed English in GCSE level until my third attempt. Looking back I was never interested in English, de-motivated to learn, I did not revise to my best standard as I did with Maths. To me Maths and English were the main subjects to you had to get in a grade C or above in order for me to continue on to A-Levels at college.

I prefer to read non-fiction text than fiction example newspaper like The Leicester Mercury regularly, and auto-biographies than novels. This is mainly because I find the text to be more interesting and real. I think students are helped to develop their skills in non-fiction reading and writing more than with fiction. I think students are more organised in sense of how their writing should be laid out and clearly sectioned. Students are given more ides and resources to develop their creative thinking and motivated to complete tasks, especially with small projects and coursework deadlines. More resources are available for students to develop their skills and knowledge when researching information from non-fiction documents and the use of ICT application helps extremely a lot i.e. Encyclopaedias, however this does effect the information they select is not always understood. This needs to be decreased in schools and skills of expanding the Internet networking should be refreshed regularly example looking into use of CD-ROMs.

From Maslow hierarchy of needs contained different levels of achieving Maslow's needs, which are physiological, safety, social, esteem, and self-actualization all in different stages of the education route. This is extremely difficult for teachers to conduct a lesson for every learner. As every learner has a different style and learn in their own pace. However with non-fiction text I think the low ability students achieve better, and understand the text of writing in more detail to fiction. This may be in only selected subject areas, one area of mind SEN students tend to do better in the vocational Design Technology coursework than the core academic subjects. When a student receives a good deal of phrase and results in each subject, their level of needs increases. From my experience at the end of the summer term when students receive their overall year target, an increase in level and percentage boost a student's esteem in all areas of education.

As part of my role as a teaching assistant we have started a new programme to help boost troubled reading. This is the Reading Coaching programme which is part of the 'Better Reading Partnership'. This is where I would listen to a number of student read regularly and record their mistakes they make and understand the struggle behaviours they have. This is a programme is mainly used in primary schools however the college has collected a number of higher level reading text to interest students in Key Stage Three and hopefully this will increase their reading age. One theorist quote I do believe in is from the 'Rose Review and what works? DCSF' is "Intervention should be used early before literacy failure has become embedded" (Rose Review 2006). This is because I have worked and supported with many students who do not achieve a level three or above across the curriculum and hopefully with the new program Reading Coaching in the college things will change.

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